BYRON Bay Rural Fire Service Captain Gregg Miller says the six house fires in Byron Bay in just eight weeks should be a stark reminder to people not to become complacent with fire safety.
"There has been quite a spate of house fires in the area," he said.
"Fortunately, we haven't lost lives."
"Our fire-wise message is more about people being aware of the risk of leaving heaters on, drying clothes on heaters and making sure the smoke detectors are working."
A 115-year-old multi-million dollar Byron Bay Guesthouse on the corner of Kingsley and Massinger Sts was completely destroyed by fire on July 21.
A woman in her 60s was pulled from an inferno when her Kingsley Ln home caught on fire in the early hours of the morning on August 6.
Two days later, an Ocean Shores home on Orana Road was devastated by fire.
In additional to the three house fires that made headlines, Capt Miller said firefighters also responded to a structural fire behind Heart and Soul Health Clubs on Bangalow Road about eight weeks ago, as well as a structural fires on Piccadilly Hill Rd, Coopers Shoot on June 22 and Skinners Shoot on July 2.
Across the state, firefighters were called to more than 1100 home fires last winter, nearly one quarter (22 per cent) of which were due to leaving household items such as electrical and heating appliances, and cooking unattended.
Acting Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Commissioner Jim Smith said people needed to take the risk of a fire breaking out in their home seriously.
"Since the recent spate of cold weather across New South Wales, FRNSW has attended numerous fires and concerns for welfare resulting from the increased use of heaters, electric blankets, and improper use of unsafe heating methods," Commissioner Smith said.
"Home fires in the cooler months are often far more serious and are more likely to result in injuries and deaths."
For the elderly and disabled, FRNSW runs a free smoke alarm and battery replacement service.
Eligible residents should contact their local fire station for assistance.
FRNSW recommends the following to greatly reduce the risk of fire in your home:
- Keep looking when cooking
- Clean out the clothes dryer filter after every load
- Keep clothing and other flammable materials at least one metre from heaters
- Do not overload power points and powerboards
- Always turn off heating and electric appliances when leaving the home or going to bed
- Regularly inspect powerboards and electrical leads for signs of damage and degradation, and for dust
- Ensure you have a working smoke alarm and a practised home escape plan
- If a fire does occur, get out, stay out and call Triple Zero (000).
For further information about winter fire safety, visit http://www.fire.nsw.gov.au or contact your local fire station.
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